An Investigation Into The Legitimisation Of The Role Of The Professional Accountant Within South African SMEs

  • Yaeesh Yasseen
  • Nerine Stegmann
  • Freddie Crous
Keywords: isomorphism; legitimacy; professional accountant; SMES


This study explores issues regarding the legitimacy of the professional accountant’s role within South African Small to Medium Enterprises (SMEs). This study is a social deconstruction of the acceptance of a professional accountant’s service offerings to SMEs through the lens of isomorphism. This exploration pioneers to comprehend the legitimacy and social construction of the role of the professional accountant within SMEs. Using institutional isomorphism as a theoretical framework and interviews with 20 professional accountants and 20 SME owners, the lived experiences of the interpretivist approach makes a substantial contribution to qualitative accountancy research within the accountancy SME environment. The isomorphic tests reveal strong normative and coercive isomorphic pressures as well as the presence of mimetic isomorphic pressures which influence the formation and structure of the current role of the professional accountant within the SME environment. Furthermore, this paper makes a significant contribution regarding the legitimacy of professional accountants within SMEs to policy makers, professional accountancy organizations and academics who further aim to research within developing economies.


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